• July 25th, 2021
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COLOR Denounces SCOTUS Vote to Uphold Trump Attack on Immigrants


Dusti Gurule

 

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on January 27, reversed a lower court ruling on a proposed policy from the Trump administration that punishes immigrants and threatens their status if they need to utilize public programs to support the health and wellbeing of their families.  

Often referred to as the ‘Public Charge’, this is yet another horrific and harmful example of this administration’s disrespect and disregard for the health of immigrants. This rule says that if you need to use Medicaid to be able to get and stay healthy, or need assistance to make sure you have food on the table or a safe house for your family to go to, that your residency could be threatened.

For many people in our community, the wait for this decision has felt like a ticking time bomb. We will keep pushing back to challenge this harmful policy and continue to speak out against the deportation dragnet and draconian border policies that are tearing our families apart.

The constant threats on immigrants by this administration are not accidental. It is not a coincidence that there is a new proposal or policy each time we turn around that takes away opportunities or threatens our safety. It is calculated and it is meant to make us live in fear.  The sad fact is that it is working.

Over the past year, we have seen a presidential memorandum on sponsor responsibility and fee waivers were eliminated for people applying for benefits or support programs. A new rule was pushed to deny immigrants access to low-income housing and there was an expansion of expedited deportations, which can result in deporting people before they’ve had the chance to see a judge. This is all while we continue to see stories of families torn apart at the border, kids in cages and even dying from a lack of appropriate care while detained.

Many of these changes are pushed through agency rules or executive orders with complicated language. This makes it hard for people to understand or sometimes even be aware of these alterations. This is what some advocates have called the ‘invisible wall’ – a crisis brewing on this side of the border unleashing terror and threatening to further destabilize communities.

All of these policies and proposals function to intimidate and endanger people who have migrated to this country, but the Public Charge rule stands out. This rule targets immigrants who are trying hard to thrive in this country and are working towards a solid future. Specifically, it creates a wealth test for people seeking residency or continued resident status and other legal barriers that discriminate against non-English speakers, children, the elderly, and people with serious illnesses.

The rule also scares families away from accessing critical government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP (supplemental nutrition), or “Section 8” housing vouchers. These are programs that help promote health and well-being and make our communities stronger. Public Charge also threatens admission to the U.S. and applications for lawful presence for those already here if immigrants–or a member of an immigrant’s family–have used certain public benefits or might need to do so in the future.

With today’s [January 27] decision, implementation of this rule will undoubtedly deter immigrant families that qualify for critical public programs from seeking them.  It is estimated that approximately 75,000 Coloradans are expected to feel the impact of the Public Charge rule. Many immigrants are already barred from utilizing public support programs that makes life easier and there are specific barriers and waiting periods for health insurance.

For many people in our community, the wait for this decision has felt like a ticking time bomb. We will keep pushing back to challenge this harmful policy and continue to speak out against the deportation dragnet and draconian border policies that are tearing our families apart.  

Immigrants living and working in Colorado contribute greatly to community life just like everybody else. We deserve better. We must come together to challenge any threat to the care our families need to stay healthy and frankly, to stay with us.

 

Dusti Gurule, Executive Director of Colorado Organization for Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).

 

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